I was going to complain about the poor taste of the Xanga guys who decide what will be featured on the front page, which lately has run to vile misogynistic spewage, but I’m not supposed to be reading the front page.  Why can’t I stop?

So instead I will tell you about the book I just read, The Risk Pool, by Richard Russo.  Several of you recommended Russo to me, though I can’t remember if anyone mentioned this book specifically.

The Risk Pool is narrated by Ned Hall, a boy who grows up with (or without) a slacker deadbeat absent dad and a mom who starts off well but doesn’t quite hold her own.  They live in a podunk town in New York with a crumbling Main Street that only deteriorates further over the course of the novel.

The big question: will Ned turn out to be a decent human being in spite of his pathetic parents, emotional impoverishment, association with multiple characters of ill repute, and numerous other disadvantages? 

Best thing about this book: Russo draws a vivid picture of life in Mohawk, New York.

Worst thing about the book: Mohawk is not a place you would want to visit.  Or maybe that’s a good thing.  As Tigger keeps telling me, “Schadenfreude, it’s not nice, but everybody does it.”

Another place I wouldn’t want to visit is the fictional town in which Peter Parker/Spiderman resides.  Because a.) WAY too many bad guys there, and b.) Spiderman 3 sucks.

I’m not a big superhero fan to begin with, but the first Spiderman movie was really fun.  There were just enough Spidey-swinging shots to make you go “wow,” and an engaging story. 

Spiderman 2 was better than most sequels, which isn’t saying much I guess, but I still enjoyed it.

Last night TGeek and I watched all but the last half hour of Spiderman 3, and that was about 14 hours more of it than was strictly necessary.  The film has a dreadful case of Sequel Disease, defined as “lengthy scenes involving mucho whoop-de-doo special effects and no story, followed by story segments so tedious you almost wish it would go back to the overlong, overdone special effects, and then it does!”

I will watch the last half hour tonight, just for the sense of closure, but I am over you, Tobey Maguire.  The movie ruined you for me.




10 thoughts on “TR HAS LITTLE GOOD TO SAY

  1. There’s no need for closure if something is truly dreadful. Closure is closing the cover or hitting the power button. You’ll never get that 30 minutes of your life back, don’t throw good after bad.

  2. as someone who grew up in a small upstate new york town, i’d say it’s probably based on a real place that no one should live in- much less get stuck in during their formative years. i’ve not read the book and kind of hate revisiting that part of my childhood… and spiderman? the 3rd was the worse but you gotta love peter parker in black! 🙂

  3. Another movie to miss: Wackness. Don’t ask me how we found it, but there was only one good part to the movie. The little dog’s name was Jesus Christ, and when it peed somewhere it wasn’t supposed to the owner yelled, “Jesus Christ! Stoppit!” Too funny. Otherwise, it sucked.

  4. I totally agree about the Spidey movies.  We own the first 2.  I never buy movies, but Caleb was living in an all-girl world at the time. . . and those movies were so great for a little boy (teaching him to take responsibility and choose the hard right over the easy wrong).  The third one totally got on my nerves.  I wouldn’t begrudge it the lack of moral message that the first two had, if only it had been more entertaining.

  5. My first thought was, “How could she not like the Doctor Octopus story?”  Then I thought, “Wait… that wasn’t Spider-Man 3, was it?  Which villain was Spider-Man 3?”  Then I finally remembered, and I’m forced to agree that it didn’t even come close to the other two.

  6. Of all of Russo’s books, The Risk Pool was my least favorite.  Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool, and Straight Man are just brilliant (especially the later, which I’m seriously considering rereading and I don’t do that often or lightly).  I’m looking forward to reading Bridge of Sighs if I can get my hands on it from the library.  I agree, most of the small town stuff is depressing, but unfortunately, it also fairly accurate.  (Both my dh and I went to college in upstate NY and my ILs have a home in the middle of nowhere there and Russo’s stories really paint a pretty incredible picture of what it is like now that the good jobs have gone away.)I agree about Spiderman. 

  7. THAT IS NOT WHAT I SAY. I just yell “SCHADENFRUEDE!” or burst into song. But not that part of the song. It’s a song! From Avenue Q! Look it up on Youtube, faithful readers of my mother’s blog.

  8. Daughter brought her copy of that new robot kids movie Wall e I think it’s called. It stunk in my book, I wouldn’t want a young kid watching it. I put Mary Poppins in.

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